Scott Thomas, director of Acts 29, has taken the time to respond at length to the accusations and charges against Acts 29 from the guys at SBCToday and Baptist Press. It is not fair to imply everyone at Baptist Press is carrying the anti-Acts 29 agenda, so perhaps it is best to limit the sphere of accountability to Will Hall, their executive editor.
In general, Thomas explains the nature of the fellowship with the SBC and the concerns many A29/SBC church planters feel:
We are glad to have SBC churches in our fellowship. They give to the Cooperative Program and we are glad. They are governed as elder-led churches (rather than elder-ruled churches). And, they have expressed to me that they would like it if the misrepresentations would end and we could focus on the gospel, mission, and church planting. I am assured by Southern Baptist leaders that the attacks by those in the SBC are not representative of the larger convention.
As I have stated on more than one occasion, neither SBCToday or the Baptist Press sought to attain first-hand evidence for their arguments but merely jumped to erroneous conclusions determined by their own understanding. Thomas writes,
We are not sure why one denominational publication is obsessed with Acts 29 and continues to publish information without checking with us. It seems odd at best, and agenda driven at worst, to publish information about what Acts 29 believes and practices without ever checking with Acts 29 leadership (emphasis mine).
Regarding the insistence of Tim Rogers and perpetual misrepresentation of the policies and practices of Acts 29, Thomas explains,
I tried to convince Mr. Rogers about his interpretation of our policies (outdated or not), but we were not able to agree on the interpretation of what “primary funding consideration” means. In a rather postmodern way, Mr. Rogers thinks that he is a better choice to describe the meaning of our covenant than we are (emphasis mine).
Following Rogers’ blogpost, Robin Foster attempted to make the case that the ecclesiological position of Acts 29 is in violation of Baptist polity. Thomas points out that “again, in this case, a blogger believes that he can better interpret what our covenant means than we, as the Acts 29 leadership, can.” Incidentally enough, I had the opportunity to discuss with the leadership of Acts 29 about their ecclesiology and whether churches who are congregational fit within the Acts 29 paradigm (including Thomas, Patrick, and Montgomery), and I found our discussions quite fruitful, largely in part to their humble approach to the issue and willingness to be corrected if they were wrong.
When asked to be on a future SBCToday podcast, Thomas expressed interest, but at the same time he (rightfully) noted that “those involved have made their conclusions already and did not check the facts. And, then, even when they had the facts, did not want them. So, I am not seeing any benefit for the Kingdom in this” (emphasis mine).
So there you have it. If you want to know the truth about Acts 29, talk to Acts 29. Read their covenant. Let’s get on with focusing more on what the gospel does in us (humble orthodoxy) and through us (passionate orthopraxy) rather than being fixated on creating controversy. If anything, this proves our need for a Great Commission Resurgence where our love for the mission of Christ is more important than our love for being right.